The U.S. State Department is bracing for a series of anti-American attacks at its embassies in at least six countries after the release of a widely criticized Senate report on the CIA's torture tactics employed under the Bush administration. Americans overseas have also been cautioned to take precautions and be alert ahead of any potential backlash over the report on how terror suspects were treated after the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks.
U.S. embassies in Egypt, Sweden and the Netherlands issued the warnings Wednesday, while embassies in Afghanistan, Pakistan and Thailand were immediately put on alert Tuesday after the Senate Intelligence Committee released the report. Afghanistan and Thailand hosted some of the secret facilities where prisoners were interrogated and tortured.
The State Department warned that the release of the report "could prompt anti-U.S. protests and violence against U.S. interests, including private U.S. citizens," according to the Associated Press. Americans were urged to avoid any demonstrations protesting the interrogation tactics.
Secretary of State John Kerry sought to distance the Obama administration from the report Tuesday after its release. "It was right to end these practices for a simple but powerful reason: they were at odds with our values," he said in a statement. "They are not who we are, and they're not who or what we had to become, because the most powerful country on earth doesn't have to choose between protecting our security and promoting our values."
The extensive report detailed the CIA's “enhanced interrogation techniques” including waterboarding against al Qaeda suspects. Republicans protested the release of the report in recent days, arguing that it would incite anti-American violence abroad.
“I think this is a terrible idea,” Mike Rogers, the Republican chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, said earlier this week, according to the Telegraph. “Our foreign partners are telling us this will cause violence and deaths ... Our own intelligence community has assessed that this will cause violence and deaths.”